Lenovo Docking-Stations: Automatically Power on Laptop

You start your day out by putting your laptop onto your docking-station and then go get your morning coffee – just to come back and find your laptop still hasn’t booted up because you forgot to press the on button – frustrated you scream out “Why god? Why do I have to wait another minute to boot my computer?”

This is a good example of a bad user experience design. The user expects the computer to start, because the only reason for putting your laptop into a docking station is to start working with the laptop. You expect the device to be smart enough to turn itself on by itself. There is really no reason that the computer should not start. (Eco-friendly Power conservation guys will say, oh no, what a waste of electricity – Well, you are reading this article on a device that is using power and you probably are using a computer for most of your workday)

However Lenovo laptops have a BIOS setting to automatically power up your laptop.

  1.  Start your computer and press the ThinkVantage button (or F1) to open up BIOS
  2. Open Power Settings
  3. Set “Power On with AC Attach” to “Enabled”
  4. Press F10 to Save and Exit (restart)

 

Power on with AC Attach Setting set to Enabled

Power on with AC Attach Setting set to Enabled

 

 

 

Lenovo Adjust Keyboardmapping (Fn/Ctrl and PageUp/PageDown to Home/End)

Swap the Ctrl and Fn Key

Lenovo has awkwardly placed the Fn key as first key of the last row instead of the “Ctrl”-key like most laptop and keyboard manufacturers. The “Fn Key” is unique to laptops and does not register in the normal character map. Thankfully you can swap the two keys in the Bios-settings.

Caution: If you do not know what Bios is – do not change any other settings.

  1. Restart the computer
  2. When you see the ThinkPad Logo Press “Enter” to interrupt the normal startup process.
  3. Then Press “F1” to enter the Bios Settings
  4. Navigate to the page “Config ” (using the arrow keys) and select “Keyboard/Mouse”
  5. Enable “Fn and Ctrl Key swap”
  6. Press “Esc” and Navigate to “Restart”
  7. Select save changes and restart

Lenovo T430 – Reduce fan noise

For some reason on some T430 laptops the fan is always on even if the CPU has a 0% load. If you are running Windows here are a few suggestions how you can fix this issue:

Update Bios

Make sure your laptop has the newest Bios installed – maybe Lenovo figured out how to resolve the Fan control on the hardware level.

  1. Run Lenovo – Update and Drivers
  2. Update Bios

Official Fan Speed Control Driver

  1. Download the driver from: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/detail.page?DocID=DS001691
  2. Install the driver
  3. Restart the computer
  4. Open the Task manager and check if “FanSpeedControl.exe” is running (if not, de-install the driver again

TPFanControl

Apparently “troubadix” from the German Uni-Marburg created a small program to control the ThinkPad Fan.  Caution: As you are actively manipulating the fan speed, your hardware could overheat and be damaged which could not be

  1. Go to: http://www.staff.uni-marburg.de/~schmitzr/donate.html (yes – the webpage is in ComicSans)
  2. Scroll down to “download area” and select the “latest common Version” (or check if the special version is better suited for your laptop)
  3. Install and restart
  4. As default the fan is being controlled in the “Smart”-mode, based on the temperature of the CPU.  I did not have to change any settings, usually the CPU runs at around 42 degrees Celsius. If your CPU heats up faster you may want to use a more aggressive cooling strategy provided by the program.
  5. To minimize the window to the “Notification Area” Right-click on the TPFanControl icon in the Notification Area and disable “Show Window”